“It felt very bad and laid on my mind that my wife had to take care of all the responsibilities,” he told me. “That makes it very hard.”
Despite repeated attempts to obtain a loan modification, the Duluth family lost its home. “I lost my job in May, Okonta said, “and my house in June.”
Okonta is a man who deals in numbers, so it’s no surprise he’s well versed in the jobless rate among black Americans. These days, it hovers around 16 percent, almost double the national rate. Black men, particularly, suffer.
“I think the bad economy is worldwide, not just the United States,” he told me. “There simply are fewer opportunities, so it’s tougher.”
Okonta refuses to give up. Lund International, the Lawrenceville company, recently called him back to work. He was to start this week. “I must have done a good job while I was there,” he said.
Last month, AJC reporter David Markiewicz wrote that unemployment among metro Atlanta black men was 20 percent. That’s almost double the rate for white men.
I’ll leave you to ponder why; post your comments online. Bear in mind, though: With the current climate, gains made in past decades are being reversed, wiped out.
And that should be unacceptable.